The Tom Bearden


Energy from the Vacuum
"Energy from the Vacuum - Concepts & Principles"
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Subject: An error in my thinking in the recent article in New Energy Technologies
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 23:49:20 -0600


Dear Alexander,


Your gracious package arrived safely and it is very much appreciated. I was very saddened that this is the last issue of New Energy Technologies that you will be publishing, and I wish you well and Faraday Labs well in your future work and research. Your heroic efforts have made a dramatic difference in the entire struggling field of new systems that could potentially solve the world energy crisis.


I was also very appreciative of the kind comments you made about me in the little article, “Overunity Electrical Power Efficiency Using Energy Shuttling Between Two Circuits”,  on p. 67. Someone said, “To err is human!” and I certainly do make errors from time to time, as do others if they but admit it. The title and the article contain a fundamental error I made some years ago and unfortunately maintained for a few years. I must confess to you that error in my early thinking that existed at the time, and that is thus printed in the article.


As you are probably aware, most engineers know little thermodynamics unless they have independently studied it. Some years ago, I was in that same position, until the late Gene Mallove – who did have a good grasp of thermodynamics – pointed out to me my error in not sharply distinguishing between “efficiency” and “COP”, and thus my need to read more deeply into thermodynamics on my own. I took his advice, and for about two years I did do quite a bit of reading in fundamental thermodynamics, and I did correct my error of loosely confusing the terms “efficiency” and “coefficient of performance”. Of course they are not the same thing at all; but today in the “new energy field” the confusion of these two concepts is probably the major problem in the thinking of most of our researchers and engineers.


So just as I was confused before Mallove pointed it out to me, today many researchers still have that wide confusion between overall efficiency of a system and coefficient of performance of that system. They are not the same thing at all, and a clear distinction must be made and always kept in the researcher’s mind.


Thermodynamically, efficiency may be defined as total useful energy (or work) output divided by total energy input from all sources. It is usually expressed as a percentage, so multiply the ratio by 100%.


By the conservation of energy law, no inert system (i.e., a system with no hidden power sources) can ever exhibit efficiency greater than 100%. The most energy it can ever output as useful work is what was input to it. No one should claim overunity efficiency, for that would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics, the conservation of energy law. If that law fails, then almost all of physics and thermodynamics is destroyed and would have to be redone. (It is no problem to violate the Second Law, because the present old Second Law is incorrect, and implicitly assumes its own contradiction has first occurred and not been accounted).


For a perfect system with zero losses, the efficiency would be 100% because all the input energy would be output as useful work or energy, and none of it would be lost.


For practical electrical power systems, the system will have some inevitable losses. So the total energy input will be processed and output as (1) the useful energy or work output, plus (2) the energy dissipated in the system losses. Hence the efficiency of that system will be less than 100%, regardless of where the input energy comes from.


In new energy circuits, we are primarily concerned with systems which may have energy inputs from two main sources: (1) the energy input by the operator, and paid for by him, and (2) additional usable energy input by the local vacuum environment (the local curved spacetime).


Coefficient of performance (COP) is a measure that is quite different from efficiency. COP is defined as the total useful energy or work output by the system, divided by the energy input to the system by the operator only. It totally ignores any and all other energy inputs to the system that the operator does not furnish or pay for. In simple terms, it’s the  “bang for the operator’s buck” that he, the operator, gets. It is conventionally given as a decimal fraction.


If there is only a single energy input to the system and that is the one furnished and "paid for" by the operator, then the output is always equal to the total input (which now is only the operator's energy input) minus the energy dissipated by the system losses. Hence the system efficiency is less than 100%, and the absolute value of the COP is less than 1.0 and is numerically equal to the absolute value of the efficiency. There is simply no way around that statement.


So this “single input of energy, only by the operator) indicates the first thing we must violate if we are to have a COP >1.0 EM system. That is, the environment – in this case, the active vacuum or the local curved spacetime -- must provide an additional EM energy input freely, and that extra free energy input must be greater than all the system losses.


For all experimenters, that is the first thing one should examine and consider. Until one finds a candidate mechanism for providing that second, free, input of energy from the environment that is greater than all the system losses, there is no visible means of the system achieving COP>1.0. On the other hand, if the system does achieve COP>1.0, then there is an environmental input of extra energy “for free”. In that case, the researcher should strive to discover the exact nature of that extra environmental energy input. It may be very subtle, and it is usually something not listed in ordinary electrical engineering texts.


Now suppose there is indeed an extra energy input to the system, freely received by the system from its active vacuum environment. Then the COP and efficiency need not be the same at all, and in fact they will not be the same.


E.g., suppose the excess energy freely input to the system by the environment is greater than the total system losses. Then the efficiency will still be less than 100%, but the COP > 1.0. This is perfectly permissible by the laws of physics and thermodynamics, and no trickery is involved. It is legitimate science and well known in thermodynamics, though only with conventional observable environmental energy inputs such as wind, solar radiation, water currents, etc. An example is a common home heat pump. The efficiency of the heat pump is only about 50%, and it copiously wastes half of all the energy input to it. However, it receives so much additional heat energy from the environment that its COP = 3.0 to 4.0. That is, it actually outputs three to four times as much usable energy or work as the operator himself inputs. It still outputs as usable energy or heat only half of all the energy input to it by both operator and environment.


If one tricks the environment to input all the required input energy and the operator need input no energy at all, then the efficiency will be less than 100% but the COP = infinity. Sometimes this is loosely referred to as a “self-powering system”, meaning that it takes all its required energy input, freely from its environment. Common examples are the windmill, the waterwheel, the sailboat, the solar cell, etc. An excellent windmill will have an efficiency perhaps on the order of 35%, which means it wastes more than half of the wind energy input to it. But it converts that other half to shaft power freely, without the operator having to input any energy at all. Hence it’s COP = infinity. A solar cell may have an efficiency of only about 20%, so that it wastes four-fifths of all the solar energy input to it. However, the operator inputs nothing, so the COP = infinity. And so on. Once we clearly understand the difference between efficiency and COP, then we understand how a working machine (which can never exhibit efficiency greater than 100%), can nevertheless exhibit outputting more energy than the operator has to input and pay for.


As a numerical example: take a solar cell array powered system powering a 100% efficient (lossless) load of 100 watts. The solar cell's efficiency may be a nominal 20% (a typical average these days). That means the solar cell wastes (dissipates) 80% of all the energy it receives from its solar radiation environment, and outputs only 20% as useful work. It receives 500 watts of raw power from its environment, wastes 400 watts as system losses, and outputs useful energy that that is powering a load of 100 watts since the load has no further losses. Yet its COP = infinity, being 100 divided by zero, which gives infinity.


Oddly enough, the standard hydroelectric plant also has a COP = infinity, but may have an overall efficiency of considerably less than 50%.


So one must clearly understand that there is no question whatsoever that an electrical system can have COP>1.0 or even COP = infinity, even with low efficiency of 20% or less. The solar cell is an easy proof.


The solar cell, windmill, sailboat, waterwheel, etc. all use familiar active environments that provide an observable energy input to the system. So we are very comfortable with their COP = infinity. And we also simultaneously are comfortable in knowing that they are certainly less than 100% efficient.


The only question is, how does one get excess usable EM energy from an unusual environment, such as the active vacuum? This environment is known to be very active and energetic in physics, but it is not directly observable and we do not see it, touch it, taste it, etc. In fact, essentially the vacuum is a restless sea of virtual state fluctuations and changes.


So we have a great aversion to even "understanding" that there is any energy there, since we do not sense it or feel it directly with our instruments. Nonetheless, the energy is there, it is verified by particle physics, and we have to think further to comprehend how to get it and convert it to useful form.


That leads us directly to the long neglected (and scrubbed from the textbooks) source charge problem: the problem of how a source charge (or dipole) continuously pours out real, observable energy in all directions, establishing and maintaining its associated field intensities and potential intensities spreading outward at light speed from the moment of formation of the source charge. Measurement of the field energy (the real observable photon energy) steadily pouring from a charge or dipole from the moment of its creation, is straightforward. But our instruments also experimentally demonstrate that there is no observable EM energy input to the source charge at all, even though it is experimentally demonstrated that the fields and potentials are established (spreading out at light speed) and continually replenished.


Whittaker’s papers in 1903 and 1904 do show us that any EM potential or field – including a so-called “static” potential or field – decomposes into sets of ongoing EM energy flows. Hence the associated source charges are continuously emitting real EM energy flows, and each continuous energy flow continually establishes and maintains the associated fields and potentials for that source charge.


But how is the source charge doing this?


Either (1) the charge is freely creating real usable EM energy from nothing at all – and one must totally discard the entire conservation of energy law itself along with most of physics and thermodynamics – or  (2) one must explain how and where the source charge receives a nonobservable (virtual state) energy input equal always to its observable energy output. In that case, one must also explain how the charge is able to coherently integrate virtual state (subquantal) energy into observable (quantal) EM energy.


In short, we must find how to treat the charge as a nonequilibrium steady state (NESS) system steadily consuming virtual energy from the vacuum, coherently integrating it to observable energy, and steadily outputting the energy as real observable EM energy emitted steadily in all directions.


Apparently every electrical engineering text and classical Maxwell-Heaviside electrodynamics text in the Western world totally avoids the issue, which was pointed out by Sen as the most difficult problem in all electrodynamics (and it was unsolved for a century until we published the first rough solution in 2000, based on the discovery and proof of broken symmetry in physics in 1957). Sen's reference and quote is: D. K. Sen, Fields and/or Particles, Academic Press, London and New York, 1968, p. viii: Quoting:


"The connection between the field and its source has always been and still is the most difficult problem in classical and quantum electrodynamics.".


Kosyakov spelled it out. Quoting:


“A generally acceptable, rigorous definition of radiation has not as yet been formulated." …. "The recurring question has been: Why is it that an electric charge radiates but does not absorb light waves despite the fact that the Maxwell equations are invariant under time reversal?" [B. P. Kosyakov, “Radiation in electrodynamics and in Yang-Mills theory,” Soviet Phys. Usp., 35(2), Feb. 1992, p. 135, 141]


The standard electrodynamics and circuit models erroneously assume a flat local spacetime (falsified by GR since 1916) and an inert vacuum (falsified since about 1928 by particle physics). So the EE model is totally incapable of even modeling the nonobservable input energy to the source charge, having already assumed away any extra energy input from the seething vacuum or the local curvature of spacetime because it assumes an inert environment. That model is more than a century old, still assumes the material ether, still assumes that every EM field, potential, and joule of EM energy in the universe is and has been freely created from nothing at all by the associated source charge, etc.


Since it assumes an inert vacuum and flat spacetime, the CEM/EE model automatically assumes there can be no vacuum-energy-powered COP>1.0 or COP = infinity electrical power systems.


Any asymmetry created in the vacuum/space (and such easily created) produces a curvature of spacetime, hence changes the energy density of local space and simultaneously the local virtual particle flux of vacuum. A fixed source charge that actually interacts with the local vacuum thus has its vacuum interaction "altered". Or in physics terms, it has its "reaction cross section" altered.


Hence it can and does often receive excess virtual energy, meaning that it integrates additional energy and thus outputs more field energy and more potential energy. We point out a statement by Maxwell:


"The truth of the second law is … a statistical, not a mathematical, truth, for it depends on the fact that the bodies we deal with consist of millions of molecules… Hence the second law of thermodynamics is continually being violated, and that to a considerable extent, in any sufficiently small group of molecules belonging to a real body." [Maxwell, J. C., “Tait's Thermodynamics II,” Nature 17, 278–280 (7 February 1878)].


Now here is a remarkable thing. The way we envision or mentally model the vacuum’s virtual changes, is that a virtual change is totally “ordered” individually, while it persists for its very short life. In other words, the statistical vacuum – per Maxwell’s cogent statement – already is producing temporary negative entropies in its temporary bits and pieces that continually form. So, while the entire active vacuum as a “system” is totally disordered statistically, each virtual component – while in existence – is perfectly ordered.


Thus a source charge successively absorbing virtual photons is serially absorbing ordered energy increments, changing each to mass-energy. Hence the mass of the charge is increasing by ordered (coherent) virtual increments, until the next quantum level of excitation energy is reached. At that point, the excited charge abruptly decays by emission of an observable photon. The process iterates, so that real observable photons are continually emitted in all directions.


In short, the source charge is a Feynman ratchet, ratcheting up ordered virtual photon energy from the vacuum and producing real observable EM photons with real usable EM energy.


This is the long-sought solution to the source charge problem.


Thermodynamically, the source charge (or dipole) consumes positive entropy in the virtual state (order leaving the free virtual state space and changing to mass energy of the charge) and produces continual observable negative entropy in space. We have nominated the charge and dipole as the first known systems that actually do exhibit continuous or continual negative entropy, as previously shown to be theoretically possible by Evans and Rondoni [D. J. Evans and Lamberto Rondoni, "Comments on the Entropy of Nonequilibrium Steady States," J. Stat. Phys., 109(3-4), Nov. 2002, p. 895-920.]


In modern physics, the so-called “isolated charge” is quite different from the classical notion of the charge. The charge polarizes its surrounding vacuum. The bare charge in the middle is infinite and has infinite energy, and the surrounding virtual state charge of opposite sign is also infinite and has infinite energy. The difference between these two infinite charges is finite, however, and so our instruments – peering through the screening infinite Faraday cage at the infinite bare charge in the middle – sees this finite difference. As Nobelist Weinberg states:


"The total energy of the atom] depends on the bare mass and bare charge of the electron, the mass and charge that appear in the equations of the theory before we start worrying about photon emissions and reabsorptions. But free electrons as well as electrons in atoms are always emitting and reabsorbing photons that affect the electron's mass and electric charge, and so the bare mass and charge are not the same as the measured electron mass and charge that are listed in tables of elementary particles. In fact, in order to account for the observed values (which of course are finite) of the mass and charge of the electron, the bare mass and charge must themselves be infinite. The total energy of the atom is thus the sum of two terms, both infinite: the bare energy that is infinite because it depends on the infinite bare mass and charge, and the energy shift … that is infinite because it receives contributions from virtual photons of unlimited energy." [Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Vintage Books, Random House, 1993, p. 109-110.].


Thus modern physics agrees that a single charge can continuously output a finite level of real EM energy, without end. Every charge and dipole in the universe has been doing so steadily, since its inception. And none of them have “run down” or exhausted their energy to this day. They will all continue to pour out free EM energy for another 13 billion years, if the universe lasts that long.


The most amazing thing is that all EM field energy and potential energy – every joule of it – is and has been freely extracted from the seething virtual state vacuum by the associated source charge(s). EM energy is free, free, free and it occurs as freely flowing streams of continuous real EM energy, pouring from every charge and dipole in the universe.


The basic free energy system is already easily made: Just assemble some charge or a dipole, and then leave it alone. Never let current or anything else destroy or scatter it. If we do that, we pay the “sunk cost of forming the source” just one time, and then it will pour out free EM energy from now till the end of time.


Thus we ourselves do not have to directly extract energy from the virtual state vacuum! Every charge and dipole in the universe already does that for us, continuously. Instead, what we have to do is find out why we’ve been improperly catching the freely flowing energy from the source charge or dipolarity that we pay to gather or make. We have to find out why we prevent ourselves and our circuits from exhibiting COP<1.0 or COP = infinity, when all the charges of the circuit or system  continuously pour out incredible amounts of real EM energy freely extracted from the seething vacuum. The real reason we do not catch it and use it properly is that Lorentz in 1892 symmetrized the Heaviside version of the Maxwell equations, thus arbitrarily discarding all permissible asymmetrical Maxwellian systems. Nature did not and does not discard them; Lorentz did and all his followers still do in every electrical engineering department and textbook.


And a system or circuit that successfully uses excess free energy from the vacuum to produce COP > 1.0 or COP = infinity, is an asymmetric Maxwellian system a priori. Today overunity systems and a permanent, quick, clean solution to the world energy crisis are excluded by the symmetrized defective model that all our electrical power engineers use and by the symmetrical circuits they are trained to always build.


For a listing of the serious falsities in the standard classical electromagnetics and electrical engineering (CEM/EE) model used by all our electrical power engineers, see my paper “Errors and Omissions in the CEM/EE Model."


Any violation of the arbitrary and self-enforced Lorentz symmetry in our circuits and systems, can yield additional EM energy from the vacuum, violating the regular electrical engineering model and the hoary old second law of thermodynamics (which assumes near equilibrium and several other things). Further, some of these violations of the second law are already known and proven in physics and thermodynamics, though they are not in electrical engineering. E.g., see Kondepudi and Prigogine, Modern Thermodynamics: From Heat Engines to Dissipative Structures, Wiley, Chichester, 1998, reprinted with corrections Oct. 1999, p. 459. Quoting: “We then have the case of strong gradients, where we expect the failure of linear laws such as the Fourier law for heat conduction. Not much is known either experimentally or theoretically."


There Kondepudi and Nobelist Prigogine tell you specifically that strong gradients violate linear thermodynamics, and that not much is known about it, either experimentally or theoretically. Several other areas are also listed by Kondepudi and Prigogine that allow violation of the Second Law. A simple one is special characteristics of materials.


To achieve COP >1.0 from the vacuum's energy exchange, the main thing is that (1) the symmetrical ambient vacuum must be rendered asymmetrical, and (2) therefore energy exchange between the vacuum and the charges in the system also will have a broken symmetry. In physics, as Nobelist Lee points out, broken symmetry means that "something virtual has become observable". That means that excess virtual energy now can flow from the vacuum into the system, be transduced into observable EM energy, and freely change the system's actual collected potential energy.


Every electrical engineer and electrodynamicist on earth already accepts gauge freedom, which assures us that we can indeed freely change the potential and therefore the potential energy of any EM system at will. We don't have to prove that again, it's already accepted widely throughout physics, electrodynamics, quantum field theory, gauge field theory, particle physics, etc.


Yet none of the electrodynamics and electrical engineering textbooks discuss where the extra change of potential energy flowing into the system and stored in it (from the free regauging) comes from or how. The regauging itself is already accepted and proven, but the actual physical mechanism doing the energy transformation is not known overtly. It is available, however, if you deal with the asymmetry invoked on the local vacuum by an asymmetrical change of the potential in a system -- such as mere change of voltage alone. Change of voltage without change of current is not work, nor is it power. It is mere asymmetrical regauging, and it is therefore free under the gauge freedom axiom.


Well, a prudent COP>1.0 vacuum energy experimenter then may seek a way to use a sharp gradient to break the asymmetry of the vacuum, and thereby asymmetrically regauge one of the system potentials freely, causing excess free energy to appear in the system and be collected in it for further dissipation in loads to power them freely or partly for free. He starts with something already known and proven: If he uses sharp gradients, he can jolly well violate equilibrium thermodynamics by going to nonequilibrium thermodynamics. And the entropy of a system far from equilibrium with its active external environment is always less than the same system in equilibrium with that environment --- equilibrium being the condition of maximum entropy of the system.


This is all good physics and good thermodynamics -- but it is definitely not electrical engineering nor is it in any electrical engineering textbook.


The most deadly thing the electrical engineer is taught, is to always regauge symmetrically -- by changing both potentials A and V, but just so that the two new and free force fields that also appear in the system are deliberately and arbitrarily equal and opposite. That just locks up all the excess free potential energy received in the system as additional stress in the system, having two new force fields but with a net force field resultant of zero so the energy cannot be dissipated to do anything but change the system stress. So that schema prevents any use of that additional free regauging energy to translate additional electrons as additional current through a load, thereby freely powering the load to a greater degree.


In short, the engineers are implicitly (and erroneously) taught that they can freely change the potential energy of a system at any time, without having to do work or input the extra energy themselves, but then they are somehow prevented from effectively using some of that free energy to power loads for free.


Further, the standard use of the closed current loop circuit is absolutely diabolical: That circuit, if well grounded to a common ground, self-enforces that terrible Lorentz symmetrical regauging. Hence the very circuitry we build prohibits any free use of the excess energy freely received from the vacuum by regauging.


Thus the nearly ubiquitous use of the commonly grounded closed current loop circuit in electrical power systems is -- to borrow a phrase from Nikola Tesla -- " of the most remarkable and inexplicable aberrations of the scientific mind which has ever been recorded in history." 


The answer to the problem is obviously to violate the common grounding and the closed current loop circuit. Rigorously, in that case the system is permitted to asymmetrically regauge, freely collect excess energy, also freely collect an additional associated nonzero force field resultant to utilize that excess free energy, and then the excess free energy from regauging can now be used to freely force extra current through the loads and to power the loads to a greater degree. That circuit with those changes is permitted to exhibit COP>1.0 or even COP = infinity, even though its efficiency always remains less than 100%.


This is a rigorous physics answer, put as close to layman terms as possible.


Again we strongly remind all experimenters that the standard electrical engineering model already assumes (erroneously) that COP>1.0 vacuum-powered EM systems are impossible, because it assumes a local flat spacetime and a local inert vacuum -- both assumptions long since falsified by physics. It also already excludes all asymmetric Maxwellian systems – the very ones that could effectively utilize excess EM energy from the vacuum.


So unless one can (1) clearly identify the extra source of environmental (vacuum) energy that is input to the EM system one is working on and building and testing, and (2) show the overall usable output work measurement is greater than the operator’s own input energy measurement, then one has no basis for a true vacuum-powered COP>1.0 EM system.


On the other hand, if one uses one of the mechanisms already clearly proved in physics to provide an extra, free environment EM energy input, then one's circuit is rigorously a nonequilibrium system. In stable operation it is a nonequilibrium steady state (NESS) system. Such a system is thermodynamically permitted to exhibit five "magic" functions" It can exhibit (1) self-ordering, (2) self-oscillation or self-rotation, (3) output of more energy than the operator himself inputs (COP >1.0, and where the excess input energy is still furnished, but freely from the environment rather than from the operator) (4) self-powering of the system and its loads (all the energy input is freely received from the environment, so COP = infinity even though efficiency < 100%), and (5) negative entropy, as exhibited by the source charge and the source dipole.


Very best wishes,



Tom Bearden